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Trump hails North Korea's pledge to dismantle nuclear test site

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President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are planning the first face-to-face North Korea-U.S. summit since the end of the Korean War in 1953

North Korean state news agency, KCNA reported today that Pyongyang is taking "technical measures" to dismantle its nuclear sites between May 23 and 25, depending on weather conditions.

Chinese President Xi Jinping has met twice with Kim in China over the past two months, including a two-day meeting this week, in what is seen as a push to ensure Beijing's interests are upheld in any settlement between North Korea and the U.S. "Thank you, a very smart and gracious gesture!", Trump wrote on Twitter.

KCNA said journalists, including from the United States and South Korea, would be invited to cover the event, to "show in a transparent manner the dismantlement of the northern nuclear test ground to be carried out".

North Korean foreign ministry statement also suggested that the government might be more open to such global ties.

"Ahead of the US-North Korea summit, we hope that trust between the leaders of the two countries will be strengthened" by the North's move, the presidential spokesman said.

However, lingering doubts remain about whether Kim would ever agree to fully relinquish the weapons he likely views as his only guarantee of survival.

Kim is also scheduled to meet US President Donald Trump next month.

Washington is seeking the "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" of the North and stresses that verification will be key.

Until recently, Mr Kim and Mr Trump had been trading personal insults and threats, heightening tensions over North Korea's nuclear programme.

Trump's decision to pull out of the nuclear agreement his predecessor Barack Obama forged with Iran may also give Kim pause for thought about the durability of any deal he makes with a United States president. This could satisfy Trump but undermine the alliance between Washington and Seoul.

Pyongyang conducted its last nuclear test in September. These refer to experiments involving a subcritical mass of nuclear materials that allow scientists to examine the performance and safety of weapons without triggering a nuclear chain reaction and explosion.

Research by Chinese geologists suggests that the mountain above North Korea's main nuclear test site has likely collapsed, rendering it unsafe for further testing and requiring that it be monitored for any leaking radiation.

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